Should stores really be selling specialty Valentine’s chocolate for full price in mid to late April? Who would buy this stuff now??
And then, a brief moment later, I answered my own questions. They keep such goods on the racks because they know some poor sucker will fall for old – albeit limited edition – chocolate, hook, line, and sinker.
That sucker was me.
Mi Corazón (translation ‘My heart,’ or ‘My love’) was a special Valentine’s chocolate put out by Taza, in tandem with the Mi Cariño stone ground bar flavored with cherries and cacao nibs. The Mi Corazón, pictured here, is flavored with organic rose oil and Costa Rican vanilla beans.
The bar’s flavor actually reminded me somewhat of honey, in a mellow but luxurious way. Similar to other Taza discs, this ‘Chocolate Mexicano’ bar was made with a Oaxacan stone mill, and as such, has a somewhat gritty texture. Some find this repulsive, but I find it thoroughly exciting.
A tasty special edition that, being three months past its sell-by date, I maybe shouldn’t have paid $4.75 for.
I’ve recently read a lot of reviews of Chuao’s fanciful chocolate bars. The people are clamoring to try Chuao’s bars flavored with potato chips and popping candy. I finally had the chance to buy some Chuao (chew-WOW!) when down in Bangor last month, and snatched up the Honeycomb bar right quick like.
I guess the hype was right, because this was one of the most enjoyable chocolatey eats I’ve been treated to. The caramelized honey provided an ample crunch, giving the bar a thrilling and chompychomp sort of texture.
60% cacao made of beans from the Aguasanta Growth Initiative in Venezuela provided the base for this bar. I enjoyed how the fruity flavor profile of the chocolate mingled with the mouth-pleasing feel and taste of the honeycomb.
Honestly, I don’t know how I made this bar last a week. Through luck, perhaps. It skews toward candy bar in its eatability, and is a bit pricey for the end-product. But if you have access to Chuao, give this bar a try – it is delightful.
To round out this review are two raw chocolate bars from Lulu’s Chocolate in Sedona, Arizona. Being raw is not enough for Lulu’s: their bars are made with low-glycemic coconut palm sugar, are wrapped in 100% compostable Natureflex foil, and are packaged with recycled paper printed with soy and vegetable ink.
Made of Arriba Nacional cacao from Pacari in Ecuador, Lulu’s chocolate bars are touted as Ecuadorian, Fair Trade, vegan and gluten-free (what? I thought I was eating a box of cereal…? Not!); in other words, I think the claims made on the packaging are over-the-top and distracting. This might help them reel in the unsavvy-about-chocolate-yet-snobbish-about-food crowd, but I find it sort of annoying.
Luckily, the chocolate itself is quite enjoyable. I sampled the Aztec Crunch, a 75% cacao base studded with cacao nibs. With additions of vanilla and sea salt, this bar melted nicely despite the thick sheath of nibs on the bar’s underside. The texture wasn’t overly chalky; rather, it was some of the smoothest raw chocolate I’ve had. Notes of coffee, nuts, and citrus pushed through the strong chocolatey taste.
I also tasted the 78% Raw Love bar, which used vanilla to highlight the flavor profile of the chocolate. The initial sampling of this bar was quite curious. In letting its nutty and fudgy aroma melt on the palate, something truly fermented-tasting surfaced briefly in my mind, or perhaps on my tastebuds. This was quickly replaced by edgy notes of wood and earth, with ‘edgy’ indicating that the chocolate was near-bitter in taste, but not quite.
The only issue with Lulu’s bars, in my mind, is that they are mere 1 ounce rectangles. They’re also quite pricey, retailing for $3.89 each on the brand’s website. So while I Of Great Fortune received these as a gift from my boyfriend’s Sedona-venturing parents, I can understand faltering and floundering upon seeing the price tag. If raw chocolate interests you, however, I recommend giving these a try.
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